Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Watt, D. F.,


Engineering, Mechanical.




Clean air legislation has fueled the development of alternatively fueled automobiles. As a result, automotive companies have looked for ways to increase the performance of these vehicles while attempting to bring down the price of this technology. In many cases, the fuel storage method plays a significant role in the achievement of these goals. The development of a flat sided pressure vessel would allow for better use of the available fuel storage space on the automobile. Construction of the pressurized fuel tank out of lightweight and economical materials will further increase the performance levels and bring down the cost of the fuel system. This thesis investigates the potential for the development of a flat sided, polymer composite pressure vessel. As part of the design approach, finite element analysis models, incorporating internal ribs for reinforcement against the bending of the flat walls, were constructed, analyzed and refined. Two final potential designs were constructed from fiberglass and pressure tested to validate the finite element analysis models. Analysis of pressure testing data and sectioning of a prototype tank, revealed potential problems with the construction approach utilized. In comparing the experimental data with the predicted finite element analysis values, conclusive correlation could not be drawn. Indications, however, lead to the belief that direct water contact with the composite walls and manual filament winding of the tanks led to the poor results. Finally, the results and information gained in this research have advanced the possibility of future successful development of a flat sided, polymer composite pressure vessel.Dept. of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1999 .G36. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 43-05, page: 1796. Adviser: D. F. Watt. Thesis (M.A.Sc.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1999.